This identification key works for adult insects found in Europe. It may also work for insects found in other parts of the world. All you have to do is click on the right choice in each box. This will take you to the next box, or to the page dealing with that order of insects.

Box 32

Tiny insects (see the drawing below), less than 2 mm long, without antennae, living in the soil. Go to Protura.

protura

Insects not like this. Go to Box 33.

Box 33

Insects with cerci or other abdominal appendages. Go to Box 34.

Insects without any abdominal appendages. Go to Box 41.

Box 34

Insects with long abdominal appendages. Go to Box 35.

Insects with short abdominal appendages. Go to Box 38.

Box 35

Insects with abdominal appendages that form pincers. Go to Box 36.

Insects whose abdominal appendages do not form pincers. Go to Box 37.

Box 36

Insects whose tarsus (see the drawing below) is 3 segmented. Go to Dermaptera, the earwigs.

Insects whose tarsus has just one segment. Go to Diplura, the bristletails.

insect leg showing parts

Box 37

Insects whose abdomen ends in 3 long appendages. Go to Thysanura, the silverfish and bristletails.

Insects whose abdomen ends in 2 appendages. Go to Diplura, the bristletails.

Box 38

Insects whose head has a downward pointing beak, see the drawing below. Go to Mecoptera, the scorpion flies.

Mecoptera, scorpion fly

Insects not like this. Go to Box 39.

Box 39

Tiny insects which jump using a forked springing organ, see the drawing below. Go to Collembola, the springtails.

Collembola springtail

Insects not like this. Go to Box 40.

Box 40

Insects whose tarsus has 4 segments (see the diagram of the insect leg near the top of the page). Go to Isoptera, the termites.

Insects whose tarsus has 3 segments, and the tarsus on the front pair of legs is swollen. Go to Embioptera, the web spinners.